Cover image for Beautiful Angiola : the great treasury of Sicilian folk and fairy tales
Beautiful Angiola : the great treasury of Sicilian folk and fairy tales
Gonzenbach, Laura, 1842-1878.
Uniform Title:
Sicilianische märchen. English.
Publication Information:
New York : Routledge, [2004]

Physical Description:
xxxii, 364 pages : illustrations ; 27 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GR177.S5 G6 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



In one of the most startling literary discoveries of recent years, Jack Zipes has uncovered this neglected treasure trove of Sicilian folk and fairy tales. Like the Grimm brothers before her, Laura Gonzenbach, a talented Swiss-German born in Sicily, set out to gather up the tales told and retold among the peasants. Gonzenbach collected wonderful stories - some on subjects that readers will know from the Grimms or Perrault, some entirely new - and published them in German. Her early death and the destruction of her papers in the Messina earthquake of 1908 only add to the mystery behind her achievement. Beautiful Angiola is an instant classic: a nineteenth-century collection of stories in the great tradition of fairy and folk tales now translated into English for the first time. Gonzenbach delights us with heroines and princes, sorcery and surprise, the deeds of the brave and the treacherous, and the magic of the true storyteller. The Green Bird , The Humiliated Princess , sorfarina , The Magic Cane, the Golden Donkey, and the Little Stick that Hits are titles destine to become new favourites for readers everywhere. Yet while the stories enchant us, the wry taglines with which they often end ("And so they remained rich and consoled, while we keep sitting here and are getting old") gently bring us back to earth.

Author Notes

Jack Zipesis Professor of German at the University of Minnesota. An acclaimed translator and scholar of children's literature and culture, his most recent books include Hans Christian Andersen: The MisunderstoodStoryteller and Speaking Out: Storytelling and CreativeDrama for Children,both published by Routledge.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Stories of royalty, magic and conflict passed down by generations of Italian peasants have been gathered in Beautiful Angiola: The Great Treasury of Sicilian Folk and Fairy Tales, ed. by Laura Gonzenbach, trans. by Jack Zipes, illus. by Joellyn Rock. In "Sorfarina," a prince marries a beautiful woman, but can't forget an old insult. In a tale much like Puss in Boots, a clever fox helps a poor man fool the king and marry the princess in "Count Piro." The title story, a variation of Rapunzel, features a witch who locks up Angiola in a tower, and climbs up on her long braids. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In the late 19th century, Laura Gonzenbach, a Swiss-German born in Sicily, collected the folktales of her native country's peasant storytellers and published them in German. Zipes, a noted authority and anthologist of classic children's lore (The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm), came across the forgotten book and has translated it into English for the first time here. The faithfully recorded voices of peasants project their trials and triumphs and beliefs and experiences, as well as reveal the vital historical role preserved by storytelling in Europe. The reader is provided with a glimpse of these Sicilians' lives as they strove to maintain their customs and belief systems despite the hardscrabble lives they endured. The prevailing theme of the 50 stories echoes roots that are common throughout Europe: the protagonists are burdened by their lack of position and power, yet demonstrate inspired spirit, character, and courage in the face of curses, spells, and imagined demons. Zipes's superb notes and documentation greatly enhance the text. Ostensibly collected for younger readers, the anthology is just as appropriate for an adult audience. Literature and folklore collections will be greatly enriched by these lively narratives.-Richard K. Burns, MSLS, Hatboro, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Laura Gonzenbach's Buried Treasure
A Note on the Translation and the Acknowledgements
1 Sorfarina
2 The Green Bird
3 The Snake Who Bore Witness for a Maiden
4 The Sister of Muntifiuri
5 The Story about Ciccu
6 Count Piro
7 Beautiful Angiola
8 Betta Pilusa
9 Lignu di Scupa
10 Don Giovanni di la Fortuna
11 Federico and Epomata
12 The Fearless Young Man
13 Caruseddu
14 How St. Joseph Helped a Young Man Win the Daughter of a King
15 The Courageous Maiden
16 The Humiliated Princess
17 Rags and Leaves
18 The Brave Shoemaker
19 Prince Scursuni
20 Maria and her Brother
21 Autumunti and Paccaredda
22 Giufa
23 The Magic Cane, the Gold Donkey, and the Little Stick That Hits
24 The Singing Bagpipe
25 Giovanni and Katerina
26 The Shepherd Who Made the Princess Laugh
27 Beautiful Cardia
28 Quaddaruni and his Sister
29 The Daughter of the Sun
30 Paperarello
31 The Lion, Horse, and Fox
32 Giuseppinu
33 Crivoliu
34 Saint Oniria
35 The Abbot Who Rescued the Princess
36 Fata Morgana
37 The Pig King
38 The Courageous Prince and his Many Adventures
39 The King Who Wanted a Beautiful Wife
40 Ferrazzzanu
41 Sciauranciovi
42 Cacciaturino
43 The Virgin Mary's Child
44 The Story about Ohmy
45 The Daughter of the Prince Cirimimminu
46 The Godchild of Saint Francis of Paula
47 The Story about the Merchant's Son Peppino
48 Spadonia
49 King Cardiddu
50 The Princess and King Chicchereddu
51 The Clever Maiden
52 The Robber with a Witch's Head
53 The Clever Farmer's Daughter
54 The Count and his Sister
55 Clever Peppe
56 Maria, the Evil Stepmother, and the Seven Robbers
57 Bensurdatu
58 The Rooster Who Wanted to Become Pope
59 The Brave Prince
60 The Innkeeper's Beautiful Daughter
61 The Beautiful Maiden with the Seven Veils
62 The Merchant's Clever Youngest Daughter
63 Maruzzedda
64 Armaiinu
65 The Golden Lion
66 The Twelve Robbers
67 Three Good Pieces of Advice
68 Tobia and Tobiola
69 Joseph the Just
70 The Two Brothers
71 The Seven Brothers with Magic Talents
72 The Pious Young Man Who Went to Rome
73 Sabedda and her Brother
74 The Clever Shoemaker
75 The Twins
76 Beautiful Innocenta
77 The Wicked Schoolmaster and the Wandering Princess
78 The Four Princesses
79 Zafarana
80 Peasant Truthful
81 About Joseph, Who Set Out to Seek his Fortune
82 The Wasteful Giovanninu
83 The Banished Queen and her Two Abandoned Children
84 The Pious Child
85 Katerina's Fate
86 Godfather Death
87 Beautiful Anna
88 The Dragon Slayer
89 Saint James of Galicia
90 The Hermit
91 The Prince's Two Children from Monteleone
92 The Clever Farmer
93 The Two Comrades
94 The Story of the Three Sisters